How photographers can use their weaknesses as strengths

When you look around at all the super successful photographers flaunting their giant studios and enormous price tags in your face it’s easy to catch yourself screaming at your computer the words…

“… Sure, it’s alright for you, your studio is in Beverley Hills” (I’m looking at you Bradford Rowley! Actually his programme on selling family portraiture is excellent…   …but I digress)


“You don’t understand, I have 2 kids and a full time job – how am I meant to get anything done?”


“How can I invite people to my home to view their photographs – I live next door to a crack den!”


“I’m too shy, how can I charm 150 wedding guests into posing and smiling for me?”

…and so on – you get the idea.

Believe me, I get it. I’ve been there. Sometimes I still am them!

That’s what makes me so useful to you. I had many of the issues and neurosis you probably do and I discovered how to overcome them. For example:

I live in a low income city.

I was terrified about people complaining about my prices.

In short, when I started my photography business I had the confidence of a pelican in a beauty pageant!

It’s easy to get caught up in excuses about why you can’t do something.

Today, I want to help you try and see the positives in what you currently consider problems.


You live in a low income city

The great thing about being a photographer in a low income city is there’s not much high end competition. All the photographers in the area think ‘No-one around here will pay much for photography”, so they all keep their prices low.

This means that when you start competing on service you’ll be one of the few photographers that appeals to the people in your area who value photography. And believe me, every town has enough quality prospects for a photographer.

So, don’t look around and copy all the other photographers – do the opposite and attract the clients you want.


Your home isn’t ideal for entertaining clients

If your home isn’t the right environment for inviting over clients and you’re not ready for a studio then you can do everything at the client’s home. This can be explained as a benefit to the client.

You can meet your family and wedding clients at their home to chat about the photography they want. This saves them the time and hassle of travelling and parking etc. Use it as a selling point. You can also show them their photographs at their home too. You just need an HDMI cable to plug your laptop into their TV. Again, clients will see it as a benefit. Plus, since you’re in their home you can easily figure out the best size of portraits for their wall spaces.


You’re not a smooth talking, confident charmer

Sure, being confident and charismatic is lovely (I’d imagine!) but there are benefits to being a little more reserved, too. For example, there’s a saying in sales that goes “The more you talk the less you sell, the less you talk the more you sell”.

It’s much better to ask clients questions and listen carefully to the answers than it is to bore people to death rambling on about yourself. Most people’s favourite subject is themselves.

Ask about your client’s wedding, or about their family. Ask them what’s important to them about the photography. If you let people talk then they’ll think you’re wonderful.


You’ve got 2 kids, a dog and an allotment!

Some people have inherently busier lives than others. You may feel you have no time to get anything done. Let’s start with the kids. One of the benefits here is you have full-time models on hand to practice your photography with (assuming they’re not moody teenagers).

My wife and I don’t have kids so I found it difficult to practice because I had no-one to practice on. My wife would rather I shot her with a crossbow than a camera, in case you were wondering!

One benefit of having very little time is it focuses the mind onto what’s important. At any given time there are 100 things a photographer could be doing: Blog posts, social media, email newsletter, acquiring a business alliance, learning Photoshop, studying business skills, rewriting the price list for the 27th time, acquiring nicely framed samples…   …the list goes on.

When you don’t have much time you’re more inclined to pick the one thing that’s critical. When you have lots of time it’s easy to fiddle faddle with less important matters.

I know from experience that I used my time more wisely when my photography was part-time. Perhaps it was because I was so incredibly desperate to be a photographer that I was laser targeted on my goal. However, once you’re already a full time photographer and things are going well your focus can drift slightly.


You’ve got no money

The wonderful thing about photography is you can earn money from it outside normal working hours. It pays for itself. If money is tight then start with ‘on location’ family photography because you don’t need as much equipment compared with studio work or weddings. Frankly, for a short time, you could get away with one camera and one lens.

I always urge wedding photographers to get professional quality gear because the low light levels on a wedding day mean you’re pushing your equipment to the limit. Entry and intermediate cameras and lenses can’t cope. Trust me. Standing in a church with a lens that only goes to f5.6 is a sobering moment. If you don’t understand that last sentence then you’re definitely not ready for a wedding.

So there you have it – solutions to some of the most common negative thoughts many photographers have every day. What do you struggle with? Let us know in the comments below and maybe we can help.